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Personal liability insurance is a must

November 12, 2020
Lessons Learned: failing to fulfill your professional declarations and not carrying current professional liability insurance can become a costly mistake.

A Hearing Tribunal issued its written decisions on the merit and orders (September 29, 2020, and October 5, 2020) regarding the conduct of two pharmacists who failed to fulfill their professional declaration and failed to meet their regulatory requirement to carry professional liability insurance (PLI) while on the clinical register.

The pharmacists’ failures were determined by Hearing Tribunals to be acts of unprofessional conduct. In their decisions, the Hearing Tribunals affirmed the necessity for registrants to fully comply with the declarations they provide to ACP and the requirement to maintain PLI while on the clinical register (or on the pharmacy technician register for pharmacy technicians). The Hearing Tribunals went on to outline that the autonomy our registrants enjoy as members of a self-regulating profession must be supported by our registrants’ steadfast fulfillment of their responsibilities to make true declarations.

Whether you are active or not, you must NOT be on the clinical pharmacist or pharmacy technician registers if you do not have proper PLI.

In these matters, the Tribunals imposed costly penalties, even though in all matters the pharmacists’ actions were unintentional, they showed genuine remorse, there had been no previous history of unprofessional conduct on the part of the pharmacists, and there was no demonstrated patient harm. For each pharmacist the Tribunal ordered the following:

  • a reprimand,
  • a payment of $7,000 towards the costs of the investigation and hearing, and
  • a fine of $1,000.

Rationale for the Tribunals’ decisions, is reflected in the following statements:

Section 40(1)(c) of the HPA and Section 13 of the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation state that regulated members must possess professional liability insurance in order to obtain a practice permit. This is necessary to protect the public when receiving pharmacy services. The HPA outlines that contraventions of the HPA and other legislation applicable to the practice of the profession constitute unprofessional conduct.

… … …

Pharmacists are a self-regulated profession and one of the foundations of a self-regulating profession is that their members are diligent and trustworthy in their practice to ensure public safety. Breaches of these requirements, even if unintentional, have the potential to harm the public, as well as the reputation of pharmacy both within the profession as well as within society as a whole.

… … …

Every year the College relies on the accuracy of professional declarations that are made when registered pharmacists renew their Practice Permit. It is a fundamental expectation that when a pharmacist completes their professional declaration, that the statements declared can be counted on to be true. False declarations, due to errors in judgement, lack of attention, or any other reason; deliberate or not, have the capacity to harm the public and are therefore taken very seriously.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians – incorporate these lessons into your approach to professional declarations and maintaining PLI

  1. Review your professional obligations in fulfilling your declarations and in maintaining proper PLI. Excellent information about the declarations and PLI requirements can be found in ACP’s The Link, ACP News, on the Guidelines for audits of professional declarations, and are customarily sent to registrants during the renewal period.
  2. Keep your licensee, pharmacy employer, and ACP informed of your permit status AND your contact information.
  3. Review and understand all aspects of all declarations you provide ACP. If you are not certain about what you are declaring, DON’T guess or assume. Clarify any uncertainty you might have BEFORE you provide a declaration.
  4. If you think you need help understanding or fulfilling a declaration, ask for and accept assistance.
  5. Do not allow your personal circumstances to negatively affect your professional obligations.
  6. Discuss these matters with your peers.